NASA says 'school bus-size' asteroid will pass by Earth on Thursday

Object is not expected to hit the planet.

Updated: September 24, 2020 - 9:42am

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An asteroid will pass by Earth on Thursday, coming close enough to travel near the orbit of some satellites, according to NASA.

The space object is thought to be "about the size of a small school bus," or upwards of 30 feet wide, the space administration said. It will "make its close approach below the ring of geostationary satellites orbiting about 22,000 miles" above the surface of the planet. 

If it did impact Earth, NASA said, it would likely break up in the atmosphere as a fireball. 

NASA has made it an institutional priority to spot what are known as near-Earth objects prior to their approach to the planet. Thursday's asteroid, dubbed 2020 SW, was spotted just a few days ago, on Sept. 18. 

Asteroids the size of 2020 SW are "hard to discover unless they get very close to Earth," NASA said Tuesday in a press release.

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